Friday, November 12, 2004

Hey, hey, hey, hey WHAT is going on here?

Yesterday I woke up at an ungodly hour; because my usual 7 a.m. programming (the previous day’s E!News or some other such brain-power-not-necessary early fare) wasn’t on, I watched Saved by the Bell instead. Ah, good old Saved by the Bell… like Seinfeld, it’s a show whose references are applicable on an almost daily basis. Yesterday’s episode was particularly relevant, and as I watched those crazy kids struggle through election time at Bayside, I noticed a few striking parallels.*

We have our underachieving, supposedly “charismatic” goofball (Zack Morris/ George W.) versus our less-fun-but-more-practical intellectual (Jessie Spano/ John Kerry.) One candidate is in the race because he thinks he can get (a week/ four more years) off from (the taxing daily ritual of school, detention, and homework / the taxing daily ritual of stringing words together to make “sentences.”) The winner of the election, you see, gets to spend (a week/ four more years) on a trip (to Washington, D.C./ that includes landing planes on aircraft carriers – yippee!) The other, obviously more-qualified candidate is in the race because (she/he) thinks (she/he) can make some changes for the better. As if that matters.

One candidate has a too-perky-to-be-a-good-idea running mate (Kelly Kapowski/ John Edwards) who probably doesn’t do (Jessie/ John) any favors by going on and on about (losing the “jock support”/ health care.) But they’re cute, so who cares, right? The other candidate is allied with a big geek (Screech/ Cheney) who will inevitably, if elected, (do all the work/ clean up all the messes.)

Unfortunately, as shown time and again, the (students/ voters) of (Bayside/America) aren’t too bright. They’ll fall for just about anything, so when they’re promised (MTV during study hall/ freedom from “trrrorists,”) they believe it and show support for the (class clown/ national dunce.) The qualified candidate is accused of having no (popular platform/personality) and, to prove (her/him)self, dumbs down and (promises, like, field trips to the mall/ goes windsurfing.)

Alas, it is not enough. The (geeks, dweebs, jocks, and party animals** / rich, born-agains, and Fox News watchers) turn out en masse to vote for their man. (Zack/W.) wins, and you can see it in the faces of the (dorks, who know what’s going on/liberal media): (Bayside/ America) is screwed for the next (semester/ four years-plus.)

And here the parallels end, because, in Saved by the Bell, Zack realizes he doesn’t want (and can’t handle) the job. He has a quickie heart-to-heart with Jessie (blankies and teddy bears are exchanged -- ???) and turns over the Bayside reins to his former opponent. All goes back to normal – the random geek goes back to being allowed to hang with the cool clique. Classes go back to being three minutes long. And that gag where a kid hides in one locker and then emerges from another (gasp!) goes back to being perfectly logical – and cool!

If only America had elections that ended with jokes like, “Don’t worry Screech. You’ll *always* be first dweeb.”

* This may be a stretch. Lots of things seem “striking” when it’s 6:30 a.m. and you haven’t polished off your first Diet Cherry yet.

** Classic line of the show, courtesy of Kelly: “Zack’s got the geeks, dweebs, jocks, and party animals. Now that’s what I call a Rainbow Coalition!” I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.